About a decade ago, Chevrolet launched the Avalanche, a half-truck, half-SUV that created a segment all its own: family haulers that doubled as utility vehicles. GM is pulling the plug on the model but is giving it a send-off with a Black Diamond trim.
Created a craze
Around the turn of the century, Chevrolet launched the Avalanche, a vehicle that had the passenger room of an SUV, seating five adults in relative comfort, and the utility of a pickup, as it had a three-quarter size pickup bed. Granted, one could have just as easily bought a crew cab pickup, but the novelty of the thing made it popular. A host of competing models were launched, like the Ford Explorer SportTrac and the Honda Ridgeline.
However, according to USA Today, as gas prices encouraged the public to invest in more fuel-efficient crossover SUVs, the Avalanche lost popularity, declining from 3.5 percent of Chevrolet sales in 2003 to 1 percent in 2009. In March of this year, according to AutoBlog, only 2,083 Avalanches left dealerships compared to 36,491 Silverado trucks. Now Chevrolet is pulling the plug.
Getting a nice sendoff
The Avalanche is not going to be made after the 2013 model year and neither will its luxury twin, the Cadillac Escalade EXT. However, General Motors intends on sending it off with a bit of style and is offering a special trim for the 2013 Chevy Avalanche called Black Diamond.
The Black Diamond Avalanche will have a bespoke badge on the grill and distinctly colored plastic molding around the rear of the cab. It comes in the base LT and LS trim levels, which are getting a few more gadgets.
The LT trim, according to the Chicago Tribune, gets a back-up camera. The LS trim, according to USA Today, gets fog lights, a park assist system, power adjustable pedals and remote keyless entry/start as well as the camera.
Priced to compete with crew cab
The bonus is that Chevrolet is also giving Avalanche fans $2,500 off “base price,” with the loaded LS trim starting at $35,980 for the two-wheel drive version, according to AutoBlog, before a $995 destination charge. However, that is almost $5,000 off the base price of the regular Avalanche in LS trim, which starts at $40,195 in two-wheel drive.
The reason the Avalanche may have lost popularity is that some people may have noticed crew cab trucks being cheaper and accomplishing the same thing. The 2012 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab in LS trim starts at $31,995 for the 2WD model, $5,000 less than the 2012 LS Avalanche. Crew cabs, according to AutoBlog, accounted for 65 percent of truck sales in 2011. However, for those who simply cannot do with a crew cab truck, there is still the Honda Ridgeline.